A former Scientologist turned author has revealed the church "humiliated" her for coming out as gay.
In a new memoir, self-described former "poster girl for Scientology" Michelle LeClair calls the church "delusional and paranoid" for the way she claims she was treated after revealing her sexual identity.
"L. Ron Hubbard considered homosexuals and other 'perverts' as 'evil, untrustworthy, a criminal,'"LeClair told PEOPLE. "My hands trembled."
The next time that she opened up, LeClair said she was punished by the Church of Scientology.
"I had to go around to all the members inside the church, confess to them what I was thinking, what I was doing. People would look at me in the face and say, 'You are disgusting,'" LeClair painfully recalled. "I think I was so confused within myself. I was being taught how to push down those feelings."
After facing pressure from the church, LeClair said she eventually agreed to marry fellow Scientologist, and actor, Sean Seward. The two went on to have four children together.
At one point, however, she confessed to him that she had been attracted to a high school friend in the past and he reported that confession to Scientology officials who subsequently punished her again.
"I was ordered to walk the halls of the Scientology Celebrity Centre [in Hollywood] asking random members to read and sign my confession," LeClair recounted. "I needed 25 signatures to be allowed to rejoin the church. I was so mortified that, after 10 or 15 requests, I ran to the bathroom and sobbed."
LeClair remained dedicated to the church — even donating upwards of $5 million to the organization — until she met L.A. music producer Tena Clark. The two women begin a friendship that would go on to become a romantic relationship.
"My friendship with her began to break down some of my beliefs,” LeClair stated. "The idea that the church would deny me a friendship with such a sterling person simply because she wasn’t heterosexual or a Scientologist seemed ludicrous to me.
"I talked myself into believing that, because I was a top donor, my relationship with a woman would be tolerated, or at least ignored. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. My Scientology mentor outed me to the church Ethics Department."
Not long after this moment, LeClair says she officially left Scientology and has not looked back.